Sequel to The Main Difference And None At All
Title: Time and Territory, part 1
Pairing: Bruce/Clark/Lex (this part all splintery, Bruce/Clark & Clark/Lex), also batfamily
Rating: Adult, NC-17
Length: 2351 words
Spoilers: future fic, no particular spoilers for SV, for DC - continuity? what continuity?
Warnings: slash, angst, triangly in-fighting, territoriality
Disclaimer: Not mine, seriously. All belongs to Al & Miles, WB/CW and DC Comics.
A/N: I still have no excuse. And no reason at all to be inside Bruce's head.
Summary: Bruce and Lex settle on a schedule. It doesn't quite work out.
Bruce had somehow fallen asleep, a corporate report still in his hands, the bedside lamp still on, when the phone rang. He shifted, checked the clock. Four thirty in the morning. He picked up the phone.
"Hello," he said.
"Let me speak to Clark." Lex Luthor. The words crisp and controlled but obviously drunk.
"Lex, it's four thirty in the morning..."
"Damn it, Bruce, just roll over and poke him in the shoulder," Lex said. "I know he's there and don't give me some crap line about how he's down the hall."
Bruce glanced to his left. Clark, head on the pillow but eyes newly open, faced him. He sighed and said, "I'll talk to him." He reached for the phone.
"This is my private line, Lex," Bruce said.
"Don't you hang..." Lex started to say before Bruce disconnected the line. He unplugged the phone. He put the report on the nightstand and turned off the light.
Clark rolled onto his back, stared up at the ceiling for a minute. He then said, "He's been drinking."
"I would have talked to him. You didn't need to do that," Clark said. Even in the fresh dark, his eyes glowed inhumanly green, shifting to blue and then the warm glint of hazel. Sad and knowledgeable, more beautiful for their pain.
"Go back to sleep," Bruce said. "You need to get up in a few hours."
"What about you?" Clark said.
"I'm not going anywhere," Bruce said as he lay down beside him. "Looks like I got an hour in already," he said, glancing at the clock on the other nightstand. One of his subtle concessions, a small urging that Clark didn't need to slip quietly down the hall to the room that had always been made up for him, even though he slept the worse for it. These overnights were too inconsistent for Bruce to get used to Clark's presence enough to break that habit.
The nights, even weeks, that the bed remained empty and Luthor's hadn't, sleep didn't come much easier. But Bruce had a lifetime of training to calm the dark and so he managed it.
And to think he now balked at an empty bed, the cold slight dip in the mattress. Evidence to anyone's eyes that Bruce Wayne no longer cared to sleep alone.
But Clark was here now, rolling away from him. Instead of rolling the other way, back to back, the more logical and comfortable way to a sleep that he did need, Bruce rolled into Clark, chest to back, and put an arm around him.
Clark took one hand and placed it over his, breathing evening out, a silent acknowledgment to the comfort that Bruce would never say he needed.
Lex had crossed the line just now – the careful, agreed-upon demarcations. This was Bruce's time and territory.
Bruce would make sure that Luthor didn't forget that anytime soon.
The next morning, Bruce made his way to the kitchen. Clark sat at the breakfast table, eating a bowl of cornflakes and reading the paper. Alfred poured two cups of coffee, setting one down by Clark and handing the other to Bruce.
"Eggs will be ready in a minute," he said before turning back to the stove.
"Thanks, Alfred," Clark said, sunshine smile to match the beams filtered through the curtains.
"You're most welcome, Master Clark," Alfred said, spatula in hand, with a slight smile of his own. He glanced at Bruce, a small nod of approval, and then back at Clark. "It's no trouble."
Bruce sat at the end of the table, put his coffee down and picked up part of the paper.
Alfred served the eggs, put the kettle on for his own tea. The back door opened and Tim stepped inside, backpack over his shoulder.
"In-service day," he said. "I thought I'd get some work done here."
Bruce looked up from his paper, nodded.
Tim sat down next to Clark, opened up his backpack. He picked up Clark's abandoned fork and stole the last of the eggs.
Clark smiled against his coffee cup, eyes still on the paper, and ruffled his hair.
"Clark," Tim said, as Alfred put down a glass of orange juice in front of him, "If you have time, I'd like to go over something with you."
"I've got a few minutes," Clark said, glancing at his watch.
Tim retrieved a notebook, stood, and walked out to the hallway. Clark followed.
And from the hallway, Bruce heard Clark say after a silent minute, "It won't work."
"If you could give me Fortress access..."
"You can have that," Clark said, "but most of the technology that went into this..."
"You've got an in with Luthor now," Tim replied. "He'll give it to you."
A few silent seconds. "You know about that. Tim, I'm sorry, but I'm not Mata Hari."
"I can't believe I want this more than you do," Tim whispered, barely audible. "You've come back, why can't I have that chance?"
"I don't even know if I'm the same person. You know, from before. There's no guarantee that he would be either."
Tim said nothing.
"I'll see what I can do," Clark said, relenting. There was a small noise as Tim must surely be hugging him.
They made their way back to the kitchen. Clark picked up his cup and downed the rest of his coffee. "Well, I've got to go to work," he said. He picked up his jacket from the chair back, but hesitated at the door, looking back at Bruce.
"Goodbye, Clark," Bruce said. He didn't rise, go over to him. When they had discussed this before, late one night, it had been Clark who had said that he didn't want to be known as 'Uncle' Clark.
Bruce didn't care for witnesses either. He turned back to the paper, hearing the door open and shut.
Tim had finished his orange juice, picked up his backpack and gone downstairs. Alfred, picking up his cup of tea, sat opposite Bruce.
"He's good for you," Alfred said.
"I wouldn't say that," Bruce said, folding up the paper, finishing his coffee.
Alfred took a meditative sip. "It would be true if the situation weren't so...complicated. You should see to that." He rose and turned his attention to the dishes.
Bruce remembered a time when it had been a different breakfast table and Dick who sat next to a younger Clark, both of them laughing. Afterwards they had gone out to the lawn to toss a football, and despite both their entreaties, he didn't join them. He stood at the kitchen window and watched, cup of coffee in hand. And that's when it happened.
Dick had tossed the ball, t-shirt already soaked with sweat, and Clark, barechested, had leapt impossibly high to catch it. And that moment, bathed in an early morning sun, Clark suspended in mid-air with simple joy on his face and football clasped above him, that moment saw Bruce's heart twist and open. He couldn't imagine a life without him.
Alfred had looked at him knowingly, and not without a hint of sadness. "You're quite taken with him," he said.
Bruce merely nodded, sipped his coffee. His face which seemed inscrutable to everyone else could be an open book to Alfred.
"You could do worse," he said.
And he had done worse, much worse. His reluctance to commit and attraction to tragedy made sure that none of his relationships turned out well. All for the best and he certainly couldn't do that to Clark, whose only indication that he might consider the ways of men had been his unfortunate obsession with Lex Luthor. And subtle probing on his part found that that particular train wreck had never gone down that track.
That was it. Dick had gone off to college the next day. Clark's room remained inviolate, Bruce never stepping across that threshold. Clark flew back to Metropolis shortly after, never suspecting.
Bruce took the elevator down to the Cave, found Tim focused on a computer monitor, spreadsheets.
"Perhaps we should discuss this," he said.
Tim didn't turn. "Which?" he said. "My work or the fact that you and Luthor are somehow both sleeping with Clark?" He pressed a few keys and the spreadsheet resorted.
"Let's talk about your experiments first," he said. "I take it that your not stepping beyond my range of hearing is your way of telling me."
"You know that I miss him," Tim said. "I was sure that you could guess the rest."
"My intuitive abilities only go so far."
Bruce glanced at the glass case holding Kon's uniform, Jason's in a second case next to it.
He looked at him, this quiet and earnest young man that had worked himself into their lives. They were so different, all his Robins, but he cared for them all, each and every one. And only half of them living, a reflection of his failure.
"Our work doesn't come without its casualties. I've stressed this to you before." He moved behind Tim, put a hand on his shoulder. "We mourn and then move on." He paused and whispered, "I won't say that it doesn't change us. Most likely not for the better."
Tim nodded his head slightly, but still didn't turn. "That didn't stop you from trying to retrieve Clark," he said.
And Bruce wondered, not for the first time, if some Kryptonian self-preservation mechanism acted upon the very people that could snatch them from the gates of death. Survival of a dying species, to wrap its last members emotionally around those like himself. And Tim now, apparently.
He didn't want to sort Luthor into that category, but logic determined that he did.
"Just turn the lights out when you're done," he said. He went back upstairs.
Later that night, after patrolling and when Clark didn't return, he went down to the Cave and turned the monitors on. The bedroom of Luthor's penthouse appeared on the screen.
"You're serious," Lex said, reaching for a bottle of water on the nightstand. "I could give him access to a LexCorp facility." He twisted off the cap and drank – large, thirsty swallows. The usual scotch bottle and tumbler were nowhere in sight. Luthor on his best behavior, keeping up appearances for Clark. "Limited, of course. I'm not that crazy." He laughed. An obvious inside joke.
Clark rose up against the headboard, bare chest luminous in the low light. "I think he'd rather that you just release some files to him."
"And why would I do that? That's proprietary information, Clark," Lex said, turning towards him.
"Because I can make it really good for you if you do," Clark said, voice low and smoky, a surprising sultriness that Bruce had never seen. Seductive. He leaned in and lightly nipped Lex's neck. His hand caressed his thigh underneath the already sweat-stained sheets.
Lex's head tilted back. "Oh Jesus, Clark..." He moved Clark's hand to his rising cock. "You're going to kill me."
"You want me to stop?" Clark said, with no apparent intention of doing so, voice full of dark promises.
Clark had obviously rethought the role of Mata Hari. He played it very well.
But not enough for Lex not to notice. "You're playing both sides here, Clark. Don't think for one second that I don't know that."
Clark's hand beneath the sheet slowed; he tilted his head into Lex's neck, the appearance of shame. Knowing Clark, he probably felt it. "I'm being honest with you here, Lex. You know what I do when I'm not here."
Lex's hand rose up to Clark's hair. He carded his fingers through it, kissed the top of his head lightly, shifted his hips to urge Clark to continue. "I don't have to like it," Lex said. "But I can't fault your honesty. You are using my weakness for bribery purposes though, Clark."
"So that means you'll do it?" Clark said, "You'll help him out?"
Lex gripped Clark's hair, tilted his head back, looked into his eyes. "Two weeks, Clark. Two weeks that you don't go to Gotham. You talk to Tim on the phone. And you don't talk to Bruce. Two weeks that you spend in my bed. You don't spend one night of that in your apartment or your fortress. If you need to fly off and save the world, I don't care which side of the globe you're on, you come back here and spend one hour here with me before I have to go to work. Do you understand?"
Clark closed his eyes briefly, the decision's difficulty showing as a certain tenseness. "But what if the League calls me in? What if I have to go off planet?"
"See that you don't," Lex said, his hand still gripping, eyes not pulling away from Clark's face.
Clark nodded. "Okay," he said. "That's fair."
Lex sighed. "It's certainly not," he said, "But I know the limits of what I can ask." He smiled. "Now that that's settled, get down there and do that thing with your tongue."
Clark smiled, leaned in and ran the tip of his tongue along Lex's right nipple.
Lex hissed. "You fucking tease. That's not what I meant."
"Getting there's half the fun, Lex. Don't you want me to take my time?"
"Oh God, yes. Take forever if you have to," he said as he settled back.
And after a much longer time than necessary, for Clark did take his time, he slithered between Lex's thighs, spreading his legs wide. As Clark moved over Lex's balls, Lex looked up with lust laden and victorious eyes into a camera that he shouldn't have even suspected was there.
"Did you get that?" he said, lips curling up into a smile. "Two weeks."
"I heard you the first time, Lex," Clark said, voice muffled. "You don't have to rub it in."
"Shhh," Lex said, looking down and petting Clark's hair. "I know." But then he looked back up at the hidden camera, putting his hands behind his head and smirking, and indeed rubbed it in.